Galvanically Stimulated Degradation of Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites: A Critical Review
Carbon is used as a reinforcing phase in carbon-fiber reinforced polymer composites employed in aeronautical and other technological applications. Under polarization in aqueous media, which can occur on galvanic coupling of carbon-fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) with metals in multi-material structures, degradation of the composite occurs. These degradative processes are intimately linked with the electrically conductive nature and surface chemistry of carbon. This review highlights the potential corrosion challenges in multi-material combinations containing carbon-fiber reinforced polymers, the surface chemistry of carbon, its plausible effects on the electrochemical activity of carbon, and consequently the degradation processes on carbon-fiber reinforced polymers. The implications of the emerging use of conductive nano-fillers (carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers) in the modification of CFRPs on galvanically stimulated degradation of CFRP is accentuated. The problem of galvanic coupling of CFRP with selected metals is set into perspective, and insights on potential methods for mitigation and monitoring the degradative processes in these composites are highlighted.